Mumbai: Thane crime branch arrested three persons for allegedly kidnapping and killing a 29-year-old Kalyan resident, probably over a property dispute. Those arrested were Ravi Thakre, 40, Rafiq Shaikh, 27 and Akshay Bhoir 20, while police are still searching for the main accused, who gave the order to kill Vijay Bhoir.
They have been remanded to police custody till September 16. Crime branch officials suspect the involvement of a few others too in the contract killing. Police said Rafiq was Vijay's neighbour and was staying there under the name of Anil for a month.
Rafiq told Vijay that they would go out for a drink to Titwala on August 25, but he took him to a room at a construction site, where Rafiq, Akshay and another person were present. They picked up an argument with him and Akshay hit Vijay with a hammer on his head, while Rafiq slit his throat around 3pm.
They then put the hammer and knife in a plastic bag and threw it in a nearby river. The trio locked the body in the room and went home. They returned around 11.30pm and dug up a grave to put the victim's body.
"We got suspicious as Vijay's bike was found in Bhiwandi but his mobile phone was in Kasheli. Though the distance is not much, it was unlikely for both to be at different spots," said Sheetal Raut of the crime branch unit.
"Ravi was the mastermind and had taken money for the murder," said DCP (crime) Parag Manare. He has been previously booked under sections 302 (punishment for murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code, and Rafiq under section 324 in Murbad.
Family members of the victim blamed the Khadakpada police for mishandling the case initially, as last month, after Vijay had gone missing, they found CCTV footage which showed Rafiq taking the victim on his motorcycle. They had handed him to the police but he was let off.